Public interest disclosure case studies

We regularly receive complaints from disclosers about the way agencies have managed Public Interest Disclosures.  The lessons learnt from these cases can assist agencies to ensure their procedures for receiving, assessing and investigating Public Interest Disclosures, and their processes for providing support to disclosers and preventing reprisal are effective.

This Advisory provides guidance on five key aspects of  Public Interest Disclosure management agencies’ need to be aware of:

  1. Identification of a complaint as a Public Interest Disclosure
  2. Timeliness of investigation
  3. Risk assessment and risk management
  4. Information management
  5. Public Interest Disclosure awareness and training

This Advisory reports on a case concerning an anonymous Public Interest Disclosure and highlights important learnings for all agencies:

  1. Making a Public Interest Disclosure is an exception to any requirement to maintain confidentiality.
  2. A Public Interest Disclosure can be made anonymously.
  3. An investigation to identify the identity of an anonymous discloser could amount to a reprisal action.
  4. Public Interest Disclosure awareness and training will assist agencies to avoid problems.